M82 Black Hole

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Chandra X-ray
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M82 Black Hole: A starburst galaxy (central region) in the constellation Ursa Major.
(Credit: NASA/SAO/CXC)

Caption: Using Chandra's superior resolution, astronomers have discovered a new type of black hole. The bright source near the center of the image is associated with the black hole. It is located 600 light years away from the dynamical center (small green +) of M82 and has a mass of more than 500 suns. This mid-mass black hole may represent the missing link between smaller stellar black holes and the supermassive variety found at the centers of most galaxies. The source was seen to increase dramatically in intensity over a period of three months (compare left and right panels) after which it decreased in intensity. A pattern of variability such as this indicates that the source is a black hole.

Scale: Image is 30 arcsec on a side.

Chandra X-ray Observatory HRC Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory